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Medical team well prepared for the Equestrian Events (with photo)

     A 2000-strong medical professional team has fully geared up to cater for the medical needs of participants of the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events.

     Speaking at the press briefing today (July 31) on medical and health services for the upcoming Equestrian Events, the Director of Health, Dr P Y Lam, who is also the Chief Medical Manager (CMM) of the event, stressed that the medical team was committed to give full support to the events in terms of medical professional expertise and manpower resources.

     The medical team is headed by CMM who is supported by the Public Health Coordinator Dr Thomas Tsang and the Medical Coordinator, Dr Beatrice Cheng.

     The medical team comprised some 500 public health and medical experts from the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority (HA) and more than 1,500 staff of Auxiliary Medical Service, Fire Services Department and St John Ambulance Brigade. They will be deployed at the two competition venues in Sha Tin and Beas River to take care of the well-being of athletes, Olympic Family and spectators.

     They will also provide 24-hour medical service at non-competition venues including Hong Kong Olympic Village (Royal Park Hotel), Hong Kong Olympic Family Hotel (Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel), Hotel for the Media (Regal Riverside Hotel) and grooms village.

     ˇ§It will be the biggest operation by local medical professionals in terms of manpower resources being deployed,ˇ¨ Dr Lam said.

     Dr Lam highly commended the concerted efforts and professionalism of team members in providing comprehensive, efficient and quality medical service which is essential to the safety and success of the Equestrian Events.

     Regarding public health aspects, Dr Thomas Tsang said the medical team had put in place contingency plans to deal with various emergencies including infectious disease outbreaks, poisoning, mass casualties and disasters during the event period.

     A contingency plan for prevention and control of infectious diseases outbreaks for 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events has been developed to ensure effective coordinated actions among the relevant government departments, he said.

     A series of interdepartmental exercises had been held to test the response mechanism in handling various contingencies related to Equestrian Events.

     ˇ§Public health surveillance on communicable and non-communicable diseases will be strengthened during the event period."

     ˇ§In addition to enhanced surveillance on cases related to Equestrian Events, the medical team will conduct special surveillance on 10 syndromes and detection of abnormal trends with a view to safeguarding public health," Dr Tsang said.

     Regarding medical service, Dr Beatrice Cheng said, "We are pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to serve in Hong Kongˇ¦s first ever Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events.  The HA will provide medical services, first aid, in-patient and out-patient services for the athletes, the Olympic Family and spectators in accordance with the BOCOG requirements.  It should also be stressed that while HA is pooling resources from our wealth of medical expertise, every step has been taken to ensure that the service standard of our public hospital system will not be compromised."

     "During the training period of the Equestrian Events, one medical team will be deployed by HA to station at the Sha Tin Competition Venue.  Throughout the competition period, a total of three medical teams will be stationing at the Sha Tin Competition Venue while another 24 medical teams at Beas River Competition Venue to serve the athletes, the Olympic Family and spectators.  Furthermore, two HA hospitals, Prince of Wales Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, are appointed as designated hospitals for admissions of the athletes and Olympic Family members respectively.ˇ¨

     On manpower deployment, Dr Cheng remarked that individual hospitals have already drawn up appropriate plans in consideration of contingency requirements as well as relieving those would be on leave during the Equestrian Events.  The medical team recruited by HA comprised of 126 doctors, 131 nurses, 22 physiotherapists, 41 pharmacists and 128 supporting staff. Intensive training courses have been organised for the healthcare professionals and volunteers to get ready for the Events.

     ˇ§A training programme on Olympic Drug Formulary and Operation of the Olympic Pharmacy was conducted in February 2008.  Pharmacy experts taking part in the Sydney Olympic were invited to share their knowledge and experience with the HA medical team, especially on the use of prohibited drugs on athletes.  Besides, equestrian experts from the UK were also invited to come in April to give lectures and demonstration to the members of medical team.ˇ¨

     In the management of incidents involving mass casualties, HA will provide emergency medical response in accordance with the well established disaster contingency plans and measures.

     In concluding the press briefing, Dr Lam noted that in view of the hot and rainy weather in summer, spectators should check the weather before going out, adding that precautionary measures to prevent heatstroke and sunburn as well as insect bites should be taken.

     He urged spectators to seek medical treatment immediately when feeling unwell.

     A new trilingual "Health Tips for Spectators" leaflet reminding overseas visitors on heat and insect bite prevention, hygiene practices and safer sex will be distributed in various hotels and at the Equestrian Events airport counters. It will also be uploaded onto Centre for Health Protection's website at

Ends/Thursday, July 31, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:12


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